The billboards that have been showing up in Sioux Falls have a simple message: We support law enforcement.
The billboards, and there will be more of them, organizers say, are being financed by a group of Sioux Falls businessmen.
It’s been a low-key effort: The men behind the billboards were reluctant to put their names out there because they don’t want publicity. They just want society to appreciate the men and women who provide law and order.
Kirby Proehl was originally going to shell out the money to buy two billboards out of his own pocket, but with calls to abolish or defund police at the national level, he wanted to do more.
“What compels me, and so many others working with me, is to say thank you to the overwhelming amount of ethical law enforcement out there, at a time when they need to hear it most,” Proehl said. “Police have a very difficult job. In the current environment, they have nearly an impossible job. So, let’s offer some humanity when it seems to be in limited supply today because I believe it to be contagious. And if law enforcement feels the compassion, I assure you that they will spread it too when they are out protecting our community.”
So far, the “We support law enforcement message” has appeared on electronic billboards, which rotate with other ads. But they will begin showing up on static billboards this week. Rob Thurston, another member of the group, said they will be more noticeable.
“It’s pretty basic but it gets the point across,” Thurston said.
As word spread in back channels about the group’s efforts, donations started rolling in. Which means more billboards are coming. And possibly not just in Sioux Falls: They’ve been contacted by people in Sioux City who share their interest.
Ultimately, Thurston hopes that communities across the Midwest will find supporters who will do the same.
“The goal,” he said, “is extremely large.”
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